Do you know that your vagina is the most absorbent part of your body? That is why I have always been particular about what I put down there. There are only very few brands of sanitary pads that I can tolerate, I simply cannot handle the plastic-y, humid and sticky feeling some of the most popular brands leave as if my excruciating cramps are not bad enough. Growing up, I relied on pads my mother purchased for us until I started earning my own money and bought pads of my own choice and I’m one of those girls who wouldn’t mind spending a little more for comfort and peace of mind. I’ve never liked plastic-y pads no matter what was said on their labels and how many times they’ve revamped their look, I never forgot how gross they made me feel. And wow, were my instincts right or what? Here’s some shocking things I found out about some of the most popular sanitary products.
- Most sanitary pads contain materials that are synthetic and non-degradable.
- Allergic reactions and skin irritation are caused by those synthetic materials! Periods don’t cause these, it’s the chemicals in your pad/tampon that’s making you itch.
- Traces of pesticides used to grow conventional cotton crops can be found in most big brand products! Some of these have been shown to break down into synthetic estrogen and cause hormone imbalance (which can even lead to reduced progesterone levels or infertility).
- Dioxin is another popular chemical loved by big brands and it is cancerous. Although women are exposed to it in very low doses through their period care, there is still a possibility of it causing endometriosis or infertility.
- They are also harmful to the earth contributing to plastic waste and climate change.
I don’t mean to scare you because chances are you are grossed out by these information but you don’t know what brands are safe to use, what to look out for and if switching your period care will be cost effective for you in the long run. Your girl is here to help.
I learned so much from a talk by LUÜNA Naturals that I attended recently and I was introduced to safe period care products with full transparency – no “industry secrets”, shame, taboos or misconceptions. Sounds like my kinda girls.
Organic Period Care
As luck would have it, I got my period right after the talk and was able to try and test these babies out over my cycle and I love them! It felt light and breathable, it really made a difference down there and I didn’t dread my period as much. The 24cm period pads and tampons are made with super soft and breathable organic cotton, keeping you toxin and irritation-free all month long.
The organic cotton is imported from farms in Europe and India that are highly certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
- 100% certified organic cotton topsheet.
- Natural wood fluff high-absorbency core.
- Hypoallergenic to keep us irritation-free.
- Free from pesticides, fertilisers, chlorine, dyes and viscose.
- FDA approved and SGS tested.
Let me share with you what really changed my life – this menstrual cup. I’m serious! I am most probably never using pads/tampons again! I’ve heard about them but have never really thought of using them because, I’ll admit, they looked a little intimidating and I wasn’t really a fan of tampons to begin with (I only use tampons when I was going swimming or to the beach, had to change it very often and they are expensive) so didn’t really put much thought into it until I started becoming more aware about plastic and the harm it does to us and our planet.
- 100% medical grade silicone (so no nasty chemicals).
- Easy removal with handy ridged stem.
- Soft and flexible.
- Use for up to 5 years.
- Comes with an eco-friendly (and very cute) cloth storage pouch.
Why Use a Menstrual Cup
Unlike pads and tampons, a menstrual cup collects rather than absorbs your menstrual blood. It sits lower in the vaginal canal than a tampon and creates a vacuum or seal against the walls of the vagina which means it will stay in place and prevent any leaks. Your cup is totally safe to use for up to 5 years which means it is not only good for the planet, it is also very good to your wallet! You should empty your cup every 4-12 hours depending slightly on your flow but no longer than 12 hours. Although I have a heavier flow on my first 2 days, I empty my cup at most twice a day while I’m in the shower.
Compared to tampons, I did not need to empty my cup as often as I had to with tampons and I tend to leak with tampons, there was no leaking at all when I used Similar to tampons, Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS is a risk of using the cup however they carry a very small risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS. TSS is a rare, serious and occasionally fatal disease caused by fast breeding bacteria. TSS can occur in men or women but by using a cup, and leaving it in too long, women can experience a slightly higher risk of contracting TSS. The likelihood of developing TSS are extremely low, a study by the University of Utah suggested around 1 in 100,000. The symptoms of TSS are similar to flu- elevated temperature, dizziness and vomiting. If you are using a cup and experience any of these symptoms remove your cup immediately and seek medical attention.
How to Choose a Menstrual Cup
Here’s how you can measure your cervix with the joints/lines as a gauge.
- Insert a (clean) finger into your vagina.
- Keep moving until the tip of your finger is touching your cervix.
- You’ll be able to distinguish your cervix from the rest of your vagina as the tissue is a little bit firmer than your vaginal walls. It feels a little like the tip of your nose.
One Joint – Low Cervix Height.
Two Joints – Average Cervix Height.
Three Joints – Longer Cervix Height.
Because our bodies are all different, LUÜNA Naturals developed two cup sizes designed to fit different cervix shapes.
Consider a larger cup if you relate to the following.
- You are above 30.
- You’ve had a vaginal birth.
- You do a lot of exercise.
- You have a longer cervix.
These are just general guidelines, not rules or the law, remember we are all made different.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
- Boil your cup: keeping it clean is super important!
- Fold your cup – practice to find what fold works for your body!
- Squat down and slowly insert the cup into your vaginal opening.
- Feel to check if the bottom of the cup is round and gently pull on the stem to check it is secured.
- Enjoy your day!
- Remove your cup and rinse it out with some clean water.
There are no hard and fast rule on how to put in your menstrual cup as again, every woman is different. For me, I’m more comfortable using the 2nd folding method and I prefer to semi-squat to insert my menstrual cup. If you find it really difficult to insert your menstrual cup, you can also use a lubricant to assist you.
How to Remove a Menstrual Cup
- Make sure you wash your hands with warm soapy water first.
- Relax your muscles, grasp the bottom of the cup and squeeze it.
- Gently ease the cup out by slightly pulling and moving it from side to side.
- Once you have removed the cup, empty it down the toilet and rinse it with some water before re-inserting it.
Tip: If you are not at home, it’s helpful to take a small bottle of water into the toilet with you to rinse the cup inside the cubicle.
How to Clean and Care for a Menstrual Cup
It’s important to keep your cup clean and sterile in order for you to use it for a long time and of course, it’s going into your bae.
- To sterilise your cup, boil a pan of clean water. Once the water is bubbling, simply drop the cup inside and leave it for 5-10 mins.
- The tiny holes beneath the rim of the cup helps to ensure you can release the seal when removing the cup. It’s important that these are kept clear.
- Over time, your cup will change colour slightly, don’t worry about this, it will not affect for it works and is a natural aging process.
- If you notice any tears, rips splits or changes in texture on the surface of your cup, it’s advisable to replace it.
Never use these products on your cup:
Petrol based substances or lubricants such as Vaseline, Essential oils such as Tea Tree, Harsh Cleansers, Strong or Scented Soap, Dish Washing Liquid or Detergent.
They won’t just damage your bae, they can also cause vaginal irritation.
As much as I may rave about the menstrual cup and how much it has changed my life, I understand it may not be a suitable or comfortable decision for every woman. I love that LUÜNA Naturals respects this and has Subscription Boxes available for those of us who prefer pads/tampons but want to switch to organic and safe period care.
How Does it Work?
LUÜNA Naturals delivers every 3 months to reduce our carbon footprint. The price shown is for a 3 month delivery of products.
- Choose the number of product you’d like per month.
- Choose the delivery and payment frequency – every 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Your product will be delivered to your door with free shipping.
LUÜNA Naturals Organic Cotton Pads Subscription Box, SGD$27
LUÜNA Naturals Organic Non-Applicator Tampon Subscription Box, SGD$29
LUÜNA Naturals Organic Cotton Pads + Liners Subscription Box, SGD$35
LUÜNA Naturals Organic Non-Applicator Tampon + Liners Subscription Box, SGD$38
LUÜNA Naturals Organic Cotton Liners Subscription Box, SGD$9
For every period cup purchase or subscription to organic cotton period care, LUÜNA Naturals donates a period cup and educational workshop to low-income women and girls.
Thank you LUÜNA Naturals for being open about vaginal health and helping to make both women and men realise that we shouldn’t be embarrassed about it! Ignorance leads to misjudgement which is something I have struggled with especially since being diagnosed with endometriosis and how much I was misunderstood since it was taboo to talk about it. Through the #nomoresecrets talk, I was relieved to learn that there are women who are unashamed of sharing their thoughts, insecurities and tips just as I am which is liberating. After all, being a woman is tough, you’ll never know if your story can change another woman (or man’s) perception or life.
*All infographs by LUÜNA Naturals